‘The younger lads in their forties fly about the place’

Gary Cullen, Johnny Baird, Brian Ferry and Pauric Curley.

A LETTERKENNY football legend continues to show the youngsters how it is done on the playing field.
Brian Ferry, who celebrates his sixtieth birthday this weekend, played for Letterkenny Rovers for more than a decade before giving younger players a chance.
Ferry – dubbed ‘Letterkenny’s Glenn Hoddle’ – was part of the Rovers team that won the Donegal League title in 1981 while a few years earlier he was part of the St Eunan’s College teams who won All-Irelands in both soccer and gaelic.
The Health Care Assistant at Letterkenny University Hospital made his swansong in the Donegal League more than twenty-five years ago.
But the mercurial midfielder found the lure of the beautiful game too hard to resist and he continues to tog out twice a week at the Bonagee United astroturf facilities in matches featuring other club legends and current players.
“It’s good fun. I still hate to lose and I’ve been know to try and referee the odd game,” he laughed.
“It’s great seeing the old boys and reviving the old memories. I keep myself pretty fit and try to walk a few times a week but nothing beats playing a game of football.”
Ferry celebrated his birthday early with a trip to London last weekend.
“Anyone that know me will know that I’ve a soft spot for Spurs so I went over for the North London derby with Arsenal but the game was called off,” he said.
The new 60,000 seater Tottenham Stadium is a far cry from the green at Wolfe Tone Place where a young Brian Ferry honed his skills playing 15-a-side games with neighbours.
“There were no organised street leagues back then. Herbie McDaid and his late brother Kevin, Willie Murray, my own brother Patsy, Yuel Tease, Pauric Ryan, the Blaneys, Michael and Eamon, Pauric Gallen, Don Sheridan, Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Foley are just a few of the lads who used to gather most days to play football,” he recalled.
Ferry began playing organised football when he joined Letterkenny Rovers where the late Cathal James and Eunan ‘Busty’ Blake (RIP) were among his coaches.
Charlie ‘Bovril’ Collins, Paddy and Brendan McDaid, Gerry Meehan, Michael, Jackie and Paul Duffy, Ed Moore, Davy Cowan, Paddy Harte, James Cunningham and Michael Blake were just a few of his team mates over the years at Leckview.
One of those, Paul Duffy, is part of the current astroturf club which also includes Kenny Harkin, Pauric Curley, Mitch David, JP Gorman, Gary Cullen, Dyer Rafferty and Brian’s nephew Martin McIntyre in its number.
“Brian’s a unique force of nature. He was up and down the pitch like a youngster and I can vouch that he’s still rock solid in the tackle – it’s like coming up against a brick wall,” said Paul.
Brian is already looking forward to tomorrow’s night game and the rest of the year.
“I think I’ll give it a go for another while. The younger lads – in their 30s and 40s – fly about the place and, at times, I wonder what I’m at but once the game is over I can’t wait until the next one,” he smiled.

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